The Nanaimo Clippers decided who will captain their ship through a season of change. Trevor Fitzgerald was named team captain last week.
“He’s a reliable player on the ice, he’s a mature person and overall it fit well…” said Mike Vandekamp, coach of the Clippers. “We’re making some changes a little bit to the culture here and the atmosphere and the expectations.”
Vandekamp said Fitzgerald’s experience – going to the Royal Bank Cup national championships the last two springs with the Vernon Vipers – is an asset. The Clippers have talked a lot about change, and the Vipers are the kind of team the Clips would like to change into.
“I think that’s what they’re trying to stress. They changed the coaching; they wanted to change the whole thing,” said Fitzgerald. “I came from a winning organization and I’ve been there and they want me to bring that to the table as much as I can.”
The Clips were without a captain for the first few games of the season as the coach wanted to observe his leaders.
Colton Cyr, last year’s captain, will rotate wearing the ‘A’ on his chest with Kyle Kramer, Graeme McCormack and Andrew Gladiuk.
“There’s been some awesome captains here in the past,” Fitzgerald said. “Cyrsy, he poured his heart and soul out into this team.”
The new captain said he will need all hands to share the leadership.
“It’s not one guy that leads the team, it’s the whole group together,” Fitzgerald said. “A ship can’t sail with one guy.”
The team won’t ask the new captain to do anything differently. Vandekamp said it’s a strong leadership group, so each member can continue to lead in their own way. But if there is a little added pressure on Fitzgerald to come through with clutch goals, so be it.
“In regards to scoring those big goals, I’ll do what I can,” he said. “It’s a pretty big load but it’s not right on my shoulders, it’s shared with the guys … It’s not one guy’s responsibility. It’s just a letter.”
ICE CHIPS … The News Bulletin profiled Trevor Fitzgerald earlier this month and the article can still be accessed here … The Clippers take on the Langley Rivermen this Friday (Oct. 21) at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena. The Clips are home again on Sunday when they face the Chilliwack Chiefs in a 3 p.m. faceoff.